Gone are the days of simple joysticks and gaming consoles. Today, 3D multimedia is travelling the real way trying to offer an absolutely immersive experience. In the first of our five-part series on virtual reality, we take you through the world of entertainment and how virtual reality is giving users a complete haptic experience.
Hobbies form a major part of entertainment and the world of entertainment is growing bigger and easier to access. Soon enough, art lovers can stop worrying about travel costs and visit the Louvre, the Acropolis and the Smithsonian all in a day. Travelers can walk through the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, circumambulate the Taj Mahal and enjoy the sunset view from atop the Lighthouse of Alexandria in a matter of hours.
This is Reality… albeit Virtual.
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3D computing and affordable head-mounted displays are defying time, distance and gravity and bringing the world to the eyes of people. And the entertainment industry has practically made this its bread and butter for the day. Players in the entertainment segment are not just offering a virtually real experience, but are moving to the next level of offering an immersive experience not in traditional gaming alone, but in the wholesome sphere of entertainment. This means that you step into a virtual reality console, slip on gloves that interact with the virtual environment and allow you to “touch” and “feel” objects, “speak” to characters in the virtual world, and voila! experience what you would experience in reality.
Virtual Reality has had a huge impact on the entertainment industry. From games to movies to fine art, virtual reality has found its place in almost all the vertices of the entertainment industry. In gaming, Virtual Reality (or Augmented Reality) dates back to the 1990s, when several game manufacturing companies came up with various technologies. Over time, the evolving technology is finally finding its way into consumers’ homes.
Theatre pushes boundaries
Little did one think that theatre could become a favored experimenting stage for virtual reality. In a recent experiment, Parisian choreographer couple Marie-Claude Pietragalla and Julien Derouault teamed up with 3D virtual reality developer Dassault Systems and showcased a play based on Eugene Ionesco’s dramas – in virtual mode.
The play – Mr. & Mrs. Dream – involves artists simply jumping and dancing on a nearly empty stage. But viewers saw them bouncing off meteorites, ducking from space rocks and dancing in outer space.
There was a time when Haunted House and Jurassic Park were popular themes for virtual reality experiences in theme parks. Today, augmented reality has gone way ahead to bring the theme park to your computer. Using a combination of RFID enable bracelets and data sensors theme park creators are experimenting on offering a virtual doppelganger experience to viewers in 4D mode.
While this is still in its nascent stage, The Live Park in Korea has for now combined a real and virtual environment that allows visitors to create an avatar of themselves and interact with objects throughout the park.
The Wimbledon Seer app released in 2009 (it was developed by IBM and runs on Google’s G1 Smartphone) gives anyone in the stadium using a Smartphone the ability to superimpose additional data about the match onto the court when viewed through the camera’s lens.
Nintendo’s 3DS, a handheld game console released in February 2011 gives gamers the ability to enjoy 3-D gaming without the need to wear special glasses. But there’s another feature of the 3DS that Nintendo is bullish on – its ability to include augmented reality. Using 3DS cameras and six AR cards included within the system, players experience the illusion of game characters appearing in their living rooms. What’s more, they can interact with their heroes, tapping a button to change poses. In addition, the device comes with special AR Games, giving users the opportunity to battle a dragon, fire arrows and even play a modified version of pool.
Until recently, the entertainment industry was grappling with the problem of offering a complete immersive experience that catered to users’ sense of touch. Tactical Haptics is one company that is making remarkable strides in inventing technologies that provide complete haptic feedback. Its applications are simple and economically viable, allowing gaming and other entertainment companies to integrate haptic technology with ease into their products.
Apple is another big player in the haptic feedback domain and owns an important patent that describes a system where at least two actuators are positioned beneath a multitouch input device to provide vibratory feedback when a user makes contact with the unit. More specifically, the patent provides for one actuator to induce a feedback vibration, while at least one other actuator creates a second vibration to suppress the first from propagating to unwanted regions of the device, thereby “localizing” the haptic experience.
Bringing the RoomAlive
Microsoft has created a magical entertainment patented suite called RoomAlive that offers an immersive gaming experience. The console adapts itself to a room of any size, tracks the position of gamers and projects objects across the room for them to touch, shoot, dodge and steer seamlessly in an existing real environment. In fact, RoomAlive is an extension of Microsoft’s IllumiRoom that garnered much attention during the unveiling of the next-gen Xbox in 2013.
From visiting places of worship to encompassing tourism, art, sports and gaming, virtual reality has spread its wings far and wide in the entertainment industry. In a bid to offer brain flipping core experiences, the VR industry has much to explore and invent. And while it explores the entertainment industry, our next blog takes a look at how it’s performing in the world of e-commerce.
(Featured image source: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Analog-Technology-Pixel-Digital-Augmented-Reality-1027841)